Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead recently said that star defensive lineman Aaron Donald “deserves a raise.” Now, Snead is reportedly putting that plan into action, which could mean making Donald the NFL’s highest-paid defender.
“Even though they just bought themselves some extra time by picking up his fifth-year option, the Rams are very interested in getting a long-term extension done with Aaron Donald this offseason,” ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez reported. “That would probably require making him the game’s highest-paid defensive player, which right now is Von Miller (6 years, $114.5M, with $70M guaranteed).”
Obviously, that’s a lot of money to give a player. In a league with a hard salary cap, devoting so much to one player — especially an interior defender — is risky.
With that said, Donald has been a dominant force since joining the NFL. He’s recorded eight or more sacks in each of his first three years, despite spending a great deal of time as an interior defensive lineman. When he’s not getting to the quarterbacks, it’s usually because of a double-team, thereby freeing up other linemen.
The Rams have been one of the NFL’s worst teams over the last decade. Rebuilding into a contender will not be easy. But even if he’s expensive, Donald is the kind of player who should be a cornerstone of a rebuilding project. If Los Angeles has the chance to lock him up long term, it would be wise to do so.